Musings Behind “The State of Unawareness”

imageThis story was definitely not what I expected it to be, when I first looked at the prompt. I really wanted to write a story where the twist was that “they” were humans and the story was told from an animal’s perspective. I thought that would be really fun. Yet when I sat down to write it, I ended up switching to faeries, still wanting humans to be the bad guys.

I wrote about a paragraph before I deleted the entire thing, staring at an empty screen for the next 30 minutes.

I reread the prompt probably twenty times before I finally found an angle to follow: the details.

Rereading the prompt now, I have no idea what about it made me want to focus on writing out details, almost like a vignette more than a short story. I wanted to describe the weight of the pack. I wanted to focus on the difficulty of the grip, how their hands would threaten to slip from sweat. I wanted to describe the harbor, the escape attempt. I wanted to form a plot around the details that I highlighted. So I did.

I wrote about half the story because I switched from first to second person.

I don’t write in second person much, but I do really love it. It’s such a unique perspective and one that I don’t think I’ve ever done masterfully well (for an example of someone mastering second person and making you really feel the story and your presence in it, check out N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season). But I still like to experiment with it and even though I never really had a clear idea of where this story was going, I definitely felt second person was the way it needed to be told.

I didn’t realize the ending was going to be so dark until I got there and it sort of just appeared as I was writing. Like some of the responses from readers (who rock, btw), it made me sit back and just wonder what the heck I just read. It left me with a lot of questions: who are they? What do they want? How did my protagonist get in the situation he’s in? Hell, what even is that situation?

Honestly, I have no answers. And I’m totally okay with that. It was just a piece I used to explore and force myself to write, still battling the funk I’ve been in for months to write again consistently.

I’m really excited for my next short story piece for the Muses. It’s going to have a very different feel than most of the stories I’ve written, I think. As you may have noticed, our posts have been coming with less regularity, with one story being posted every two weeks instead of every week. Life gets busy. To-Do lists never cease to end. And so we’ve had to alter our posting schedule. But we appreciate all of you sticking with us during these early stages of our blog, as we figure out what works best for us, and continuing to read and offer feedback over our work. It’s one of the main reasons we do what we do: to write and to be read.

In case you have no idea what blog or story I’m talking about, here are some links:

Blog: Muse In Pocket, Pen in Hand
Story: The State of Unawareness

Cheers.

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

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